Kristen Cooper is the CEO and Founder of The Startup Ladies. The Startup Ladies identify, educate, connect and increase investment in women entrepreneurs starting up scalable businesses. Founded in 2014 by Cooper, the membership organization hosts programming for budding entrepreneurs and first-time investors. The Startup Ladies believe that diversity is a competitive advantage. Anyone (men included) who has a passion for startups and investing is invited to become a member and participate in their programs and events. Learn more at www.TheStartupLadies.org
Cooper has a background in building technology and raising money. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Operations and Corporate Development at Sticksnleaves, a software development firm. She helped the company scale by developing new collaborations with growth-stage and mature businesses, and expanded collaborations with women and minority entrepreneurs who wanted to build new technology products. Additionally, she developed relationships with investors throughout the country to identify more funding opportunities for Sticksnleaves’ clients.
Prior to Sticksnleaves, Cooper served as a non-profit fundraiser for nearly twenty years. As Executive Director of Corporate Partnerships & Membership Sales and Events at the Indy Chamber, she, among other things, was responsible for launching the highly successful Women in Business series. Before fundraising in the economic development sphere, she was the Director of Operations at the Riverview Hospital Foundation, and held Major Gifts Officer positions at Butler University and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Throughout her career, Cooper has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations and developing sales and marketing strategies to creatively engage donors and clients in growing revenue. She mentors women entrepreneurs building tech enabled businesses throughout the state of Indiana. She also is a very public advocate of the LGBTQ community in the hopes of eliminating discrimination permanently. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree from the Pennsylvania State University.
Cooper resides in Westfield, Indiana with her husband, Jason Kelly, PhD, and their two pet Betas, Mr. Chompers and Fanny Wright. Together, they enjoy gardening, cheese, vodka drinks (at least Kristen does) and fighting for equality for everyone, everywhere.